Staying the Course – A Tale of Money & Things

When I bought my car, I pulled a Bruce Hornsby, said to myself..There are Gonna Be Some Changes made. For anyone born after 1990, here’s the video.

So some of the changes:

  • Only ate out once this week, lunch and dinner included. Went out with a friend, spent $10.82 for dinner. Feel healthier since I eat salad at least once a day and have a ton less guilt. Do need to go food shopping soon though. Savings: Lunch – $40/wk Dinner – $80/week (some weeks it’s more but being conservative)  = $480/mo combined. Still leaving room to eat out on weekends, or go out occasionally and be frugal. 
  • Using Toll Road sparingly. I use a combination of the George Bush Tollway and Dallas North Tollway to get to work in the morning. It it $1.25 each way, I typically only take it to work in the morning and take the side roads back. Due to less overall traffic I end up losing less than 5 minutes commute time. Savings = 6.25/wk $25/mo
  • Strongly considering getting rid of one of the DVRs. There are 2 of us and 3 tvs. The tv in one of my rooms is only used about once a month. My Chromecast or computer can be used to watch video on it. Savings = $8/mo
  • Spotify – It’s $10/mo and causes me to go over the 5Gb of ‘unlimited’ data usage on my phone every single month without exception. XM Radio subscription in car is good for 3 months. I could sign up online but have read horrible things about SiriusXM’s customer service. It is integrated with my car’s stereo, but not sure I’d rather stream or do FM radio..
  • Cancelled Apple Developer Membership. I’d love to be a developer, but I lack the free time to reach the level of knowledge required to become one. There are also plenty of free courses online that I can use to get familiar with the basics, then reassess. Savings = $99/yr 8.25/mo.

All in all that’s about $530 in savings. Just need to make these changes now, less deliberation, more doing. That’s the Home Depot way. Ok I swear I haven’t lost it..

Talked to my friend who bought a fancy coupe recently. I was literally blown away by what he told me. His car gets 20mpg and his drive to and back from work is 30 miles each way plus an additional 250 miles a week in personal travel. So about 100/wk in gas He pays $100/mo in tolls, car payment is $600/mo. Total overhead (insurance, gas, tolls, car note) for his car is $1600/mo, not including depreciation or maintenance. Already in 3 months he put 10k in mileage on a brand new car.  He tried to trade it in upon realizing what a huge financial mistake he made but would only get half of what it was sold for. I couldn’t offer much words of wisdom and it wasn’t the right time / place for I told you so.

Moral of the story is sometimes people have fancy things but a whole lot of stress to keep those things. I could’ve made a similar decision to get a fancy sports car that wasn’t great on gas and not so practical for carrying passengers. Also my new car purchase didn’t boost my overhead much. Insurance went up $5 for 6 months and my payment is under 10% of my net income.

Suze Orman was right: People First, Then Money, Then Things, Now You Stay Safe. People meaning yourself because at the end of the day you are your biggest supporter or biggest enemy to financial security.

Month 27 Update – Sallie Mae: 29,719.74 Car: 16,762.21 Total: 46,481.95

IMG_5264 IMG_5257 IMG_5229 IMG_5004 IMG_5174So as I mentioned in the last post, I now have an automobile loan. The current balance is 16,762.21 at 0% and the payments are 280/month. Next payment isn’t due until 8/14 which is almost a week after my 31st birthday. As a proactive measure I am putting $75/week a separate savings account.



Cutting back my student loan payment of $1,000 / month to $720 / month. I may be getting a raise next month. Assuming I receive it, my estimate is $30 / week, $137 / month $1650 a year. So that and eating out less at work ($40/wk savings) I may not have to cut back on paying things down as much as I think.

Have some household expenses coming up over the next few months that we are not looking forward to.

  • Plumbing work. The pipe running from house to the main line on the street has tree branches growing through it. This has resulted in sewage being backed up into our downstairs shower about 5 or 6 times now. We are working with a plumber to get it repaired who said the cost could run as high as $5k. He later mentioned the city would do the work for free. I e-mailed him asking him what I should tell them, went to the city and they basically said that the expense would fall on the homeowner. E-mailed my plumber back and am still waiting for an answer. Our downstairs shower also won’t get hot. It was working at one point, most likely due to a washer or bracket of some sort, but not any longer.
  • Shower – Both bf and I want a new shower. The upstairs one has mold growing in the crevices, no matter how much we clean it. Also the tub is showing wear. No idea how old both are but my gut tells me at least 20 years. I’d guess around $10k for the job.
  • Driveway – Roots pushing up on the driveway from the two trees in the front of the house. The driveway is sticking up a few inches. Have contacted the homeowners association for advice on both issues. They have been of very little assistance. Guess I shouldn’t expect a whole lot more for $99 / month. I expect this will run around $2k.
  • Dining Room – Dining room table is shot, it’s at least 8 years old and has travelled across the country. We checked out some new furniture at Haverty’s & Freed’s Furniture. This will happen around Labor Day as the sales get more competitive.

So here is an update on the Sallie Mae situation. Making progress. Want to keep it going at the same rate I have been for the last year. Momentum is power. I think worst situation is it takes me an extra year to pay things off.


Our cruise trip was amazing. 7 days, got to experience Roatan, Honduras, Belize City and Cozumel Mexico. A much needed break from the 8:30-5:30 shift I was working on too little sleep, and self-imposted lack of taking breaks. Too much of that cycle just made me miserable with life in general. Didn’t have the energy to go workout, to socialize, to cook diner. Just ended up feeling like a slave to work. I realize we all have crises to deal with, but making time for yourself is essential.

Here are a couple of pictures. Before this, I never left the US and was afraid of travelling. Now I’m starting to fall in love with the experience, minus the stresses of flying or dealing with unforseen occurrances.

So I bought a new car?

The New Car Purchase

Come the end of June I was faced with a dilemma. A dilemma that everyone who owns a car faces at some point in time. Do I keep my aging vehicle with unforseen maintenance costs or replace it with something newer.

I did a rundown of the costs for keeping my 2008.

I took a considerable amount of time  something newer or get a new / newer one.

Spark Plugs $150.00
Tires $400.00
Struts (Front, Rear and Alignment) $1064.23
Total $1614.23


KBB Value for the 2008 was about $9200, with an annual depreciation of $500 per year and additional losses as mileage increases. Once over 100k miles the resale value plummets around 16% / $1500 compared to current day. After 6 1/2 years, a squeaky brake pedal, rattles, a bunch of scratches, a bumpy ride, no Bluetooth and mediocre 25mpg MPG. So I started doing research. I was very close to getting Mazda 3 hatchback, but the lack of incentives, distance of the dealerships from my home and road noise were all concerns. Our Honda Accord is not much fun to drive, KIAs aren’t built well, Toyota reminds me of old people, I don’t trust GM, VW reliability is still sub-par and the premium makes are either bad on gas or I can’t afford them. So I decided to get a newer version of the vehicle I owned.

Spoke about it with my boyfriend, told him and the dealership the trade-in value would heavily influence my decision to buy or get car fixed. In 2008 I traded my 2003 model for $6000 and saw the car online for $10k. All because of timing and letting emotions grab the best of me.

This time things would be different. I wasn’t going to get screwed over by a dealership. Here are some of the things I did:

1. I chose the last day of the month and last day of the quarter to buy. This gave me the greatest amount of negotiating leverage

2. I picked last years model year. 2014 vs 2015. The ’15s are almost identical yet a few thousand more. The car I bought is one of the best MPG non-hybrids for its class.

3. I researched the dealership. It had the best reviews in the DFW area. I was satisfied with the experience. Was probably the lowest amount of stress I have ever experienced buying a car. Some of the tactics dealers pull are downright offensive and unethical.

4. Got a price quote from before I went in the door.

5. Negotiated to get the 0% off and have dealer go up on the price $1000 instead of the $1500 that I would have lost.

6. Made sure I got a good deal on my trade. $9000 plus the savings from not having to pay sales tax. This exceeded my expectations and lowered the amount of what I financed significantly.



I love the way the car drives and handles. I can see myself keeping it 7 years. Didn’t buy an extended warranty on it yet, but have 3 years to make that decision.  I didn’t really want to buy a new car, but think now was as good a time as any to do it. Will post more but that’s my quick update.

Was talking with my friend who bought a new Hyundai this year and his payment is $600/mo. I don’t know what the interest rate is, but he got less than half what I did for his car at trade-in and paid close to 8k more. The car has great performance but the passenger’s legs almost get crushed in the backseat. Guess I’m not a fan of coupes…. 🙂